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U.S. Senators React To China Steel In Verrazano Bridge Repairs

BUFFALO, N.Y., July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) flagged yesterday's public statements and a joint letter by U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) directed at the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), urging the public agency avoid using steel from state-owned Chinese enterprises on future infrastructure projects.

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USW President Leo W. Gerard praised the senators for their response to the MTA $235 million contract with state-owned steel and fabrication enterprises in China to rebuild the deck of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. "After hearing the voices of American working families," Gerard said, "Sens. Schumer and Brown were unequivocal in condemning the deal as promoting a race to the bottom."

The Schumer-Brown statement told MTA: "If we continue to source to Chinese companies based entirely on bid pricing, they will always win – with the level of government support and overproduction, it's impossible to beat their prices. This is causing a global race to the bottom on steel prices, a budding environmental catastrophe and the threatening of steel production not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

"If American government entities like the MTA don't support a level playing field for American steel made by American steelworkers, no one will," the senators declared.  Schumer adds in his statement that using China steel is in direct conflict with the best interest of the NY economy. He said the Chinese government cheats on currency manipulation, plus state-owned steel companies get subsidies for energy and infrastructure that gives them a competitive advantage.

John Shinn, Director, USW District 4 in NY, said: "Taking the bridge and tunnel tolls paid by hard working Americans for their daily job commute, shouldn't be used to promote jobs in China.  American steelworkers and the construction trades both lose jobs under the current MTA regime. We value the strong support of Sens. Schumer and Brown in pointing the way forward that puts us on a fair playing field with China."

Sens. Schumer and Brown are leaders supporting American jobs in manufacturing and fair trade policy. Both serve together on the Senate Committees for Finance, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

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